Something must have been in the water from the mid seventies to the mid eighties. No other period in history has seen such a high rate of horror film success stories. Early in this 'golden age of horror', George Romero shot one of the most original, and intelligent vamire films - one that's yet to be bettered. Martin (Amplas) may or may not be 84 years old. Crosses don't bug him, nor does garlic and mirrors reflect him just fine. He does however have a very real and desperate need for blood. Representing Martin's bloodlust as a very plausible illness rather than something supernatural, resulting in the character's extreme isolation makes this one sombre hell of a film, but Romero still manages to pepper it with ironic humour. Amplas' feature debut is outstanding. This is also Romero's first collaboration with Savini, who has a small role as well as providing effects and stunt work. Martin doesn't have the copious gore (but I assure you it does have some) of Dawn of the Dead, or the spectacle of Knightriders, but it does sit comfortably with those two films in the category of 'the three greatest Romero films ever.'
This is a full frame transfer as it was originally shot. There is a mention of a 1.85 version in the commentary, but don't fret, as that would be a matted version. Romero himself prefers this film full frame. The source print that this was taken from is low on grain and damage. Unfortunately, there seems to be quite a lot of compression artifacts going on here. Given the image quality of Anchor Bay's releases of late, this comes as quite a surprise and disappointment.
The mono soundtrack is fine. Dialogue is clear throughout.
Quality wins out over quantity in the supplements department here. We get a great little trailer and a commentary with Romero, Amplas and Savini. This is fascintating and entertaining stuff, but that seems to be a given with any commentary featuring Savini.
While the transfer may be far from perfect, it's still completely watchable. If you dig intelligent, well acted, well directed films, buy Martin. If you prefer seeing Party Of Five stars stalked by some carbon copy psycho, then frankly, you don't deserve anything this good.